Writing for the Newspaper

Writing for the Newspaper

WRITING LEADS AND USING QUOTES EFFECTIVELY What is a lead? A lead is how a writer begins the story Usually, 1-2 sentences, but occasionally, it can be as long as a few paragraphs or as short as a word.

Its arguably the most important part of the story the first impression Your goal: GRAB YOUR READERS ATTENTION! Types of Leads I. Standard Leads (a.k.a. hard leads) II. Creative Leads (a.k.a. soft leads) Standard Leads (Hard Leads)

1. Summary Lead The most traditional lead in journalism. Gives the reader a quick summary of the story in 30 words or less. -Focuses on the who, what, when, and where of the story. EX: The purchase of new computers will strain next years budget, Principal David Thaden announced at last weeks faculty meeting.

Standard Leads (Hard Leads) 1. Summary Lead The most traditional lead in journalism. Gives the reader a quick summary of the story in 30 words or less. -Focuses on the who, what, when, and where of the story. EX: The purchase of new computers will strain next years budget, Principal David Thaden announced at last weeks faculty meeting.

Standard Leads (Hard Leads) 1. Summary Lead The most traditional lead in journalism. Gives the reader a quick summary of the story in 30 words or less. -Focuses on the who, what, when, and where of the story. EX: The purchase of new computers will strain next years budget, Principal David Thaden

announced at last weeks faculty meeting. Standard Leads (Hard Leads) 1. Summary Lead The most traditional lead in journalism. Gives the reader a quick summary of the story in 30 words or less. -Focuses on the who, what, when, and where of the story. EX: The purchase of new computers will strain

next years budget, Principal David Thaden announced at last weeks faculty meeting. Standard Leads (Hard Leads) 1. Summary Lead The most traditional lead in journalism. Gives the reader a quick summary of the story in 30 words or less. -Focuses on the who, what, when, and where of the story.

EX: The purchase of new computers will strain next years budget, Principal David Thaden announced at last weeks faculty meeting. Standard Leads, continued Tips For Writing a Summary Lead Use few words (30 max) Focus on the most important of the 5 Ws and H (usually the who or the what)

Summarize the most newsworthy fact within the first 10 words AVOID TOPIC LEADS: BAD: There was a faculty meeting last week. BAD: On Oct. 4, the faculty met in the library to discuss various matters at their monthly meeting. Creative Leads (soft leads) A Partial List:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Scene-setting lead Narrative or Storytelling Lead Contrast Lead Punch Lead

Wordplay Lead Scene-setting Lead Begins the story with a description of a scene surrounding an event. Used in stories where the setting is prominent. Scene-setting Example The lights shine down and the music surrounds

her as she spins across the stage into the arms of her partner. The audience roars its approval as the music slows and the curtains begin to close. Its the end of just another workday for teenager Chelsea Rittenhouse. At 18, the Howell resident is the youngest member of the New York Theater Ballet, which describes itself as the most widely seen chamber ballet company in the United States. The professional group also tours abroad.

Storytelling Lead Writer uses a narrative style (begin introducing main characters, conflict, setting, etc.) to make the reader feel the drama and want to know whats going to happen next. Storytelling Lead Example In the summer of 2011, Jolene Jang was enjoying an outdoor festival in Seattle when she

felt a creepy guy standing close behind her. He was reaching into her backpack. When she confronted him, the man started to run away, but Jangs boyfriend tackled him and held him until the police arrived. She figured that was the end of it. A few months later, a prosecutor called with unsettling news. The man wasnt just a pickpocket. He had been using a small digital camera to take pictures up her skirt.

Contrast Lead Introduces a twist. The information seems to have a conflict or a contrast (then vs. now or something is not as it seems). Contrast Lead Examples Example 1 There is now only a single abortion clinic in

Mississippi. Once there were seven. Example 2 Tom Smith is a family man with a passion for hedge-trimming. He is also responsible for the deaths of 47 people. Punch Lead Uses an off-the-wall fact or question intended to raise a question in readers

minds. Punch Lead Examples Example 1: Northwest Guilford High School students spend an average of seven hours per day surfing the Internet. Example 2: She told us to pray, Tara McCoy said softly. The

nun told us to pray, and it would all go away. Wordplay Lead Involves a clever turn of phrase, name or word Be careful not to be too gimmicky or misleading! Wordplay Lead Examples Example 1:

People go to him when they want to get something on their chest. (profile about a tattoo artist) Example 2: President Obama will finally get taken to the cleaners. So will Dracula and the Playboy bunny. The three are among 6,000 smoke-damaged Halloween costumes that will visit the dry cleaners because of a fire that broke out Wednesday at Morris

Novelty, a popular costume store. Integrating Quotations Into Your Story! Using Quotes in Journalism You should have a quote by the third or fourth paragraph (preceded or followed by the nutgraph) You may have a quote every other paragraph

Often a quote is the perfect ending to a story Quotes are a way to prevent you, the writer, from sounding biased; quotes can be used to reveal opinion Choose quotes that are interesting and concise; avoid long, rambling quotes or quotes that are purely factual How To Punctuate? 1. Capitalize the first letter of the direct quote:

Sophomore Alan Johnson said, The alien spaceship appeared right before my eyes. OR The alien spaceship appeared right before my eyes, sophomore Alan Johnson said. 2. If a direct quotation is interrupted midsentence, do not capitalize the second part. I didnt see an actual alien being, Johnson said, but I sure wish I had.

How To Punctuate?, continued Use only the verb said in journalistic writing. Do not say, When asked. WRONG: When asked how he felt about aliens, Principal Ralph Kitley exclaimed, They are awesome! How To Punctuate?, continued

Use only the verb said in journalistic writing. Do not say, When asked. WRONG: When asked how he felt about aliens, Principal Ralph Kitley exclaimed, They are awesome!

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